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Monday 14 March 2022

7th to 13th March – First Wheatears, Sand Martin and Puffins

7 March

Overcast with an easterly wind.

A Merlin over the East Side was one of the few birds of note.  Skylark numbers are building with 15 counted including birds singing over Castle Hill, South West Field and Ackland’s Moor. 29 Meadow Pipits, four Pied Wagtails and six Linnets were counted during the morning census today.

8 March

Light rain showers with a moderate southeasterly.

Amongst today’s arrivals were the first two Wheatear of the year with a pair seen above Quarry Pond. Also seen were two Goldfinch, seven Linnets and 24 Meadow Pipits. Four Goldcrests were recorded across the island and a Chiffchaff and two Water Rail were in Smelly Gully. Of note were three Snipe flying over in the (late) evening whilst walking back from the Tavern.

9 March

Dry with strong southerly winds.

Two Cormorants flew north along the West Coast. A Grey Wagtail was seen on Barton’s Pond late afternoon and three Snipe were flushed from the rush. A Chiffchaff was seen and heard calling in the trees above Millcombe House.

10 March

Overcast with wind from the southwest.

The lighter winds really boosted numbers today. A total count of 108 Meadow Pipits were recorded, with a large flock of 34 over Barton’s Field. The first Sparrowhawk of the year was seen briefly over the fields above Quarter Wall Copse and the first Sand Martin flew along the East Coast. The Landing Bay was calm and so it was possible to see a Great Northern Diver. Yesterday’s Grey Wagtail was recorded again. It was in the Pig Sty during the morning census and then by Brambles Pond in the late afternoon. Also of note was the arrival of four Chiffchaffs with three in Smelly Gully and one by Stoneycroft, though we are yet to hear any making their characteristic song. Finally a Reed Bunting was heard calling above Pondsbury, could this still be one of the pair first seen on 25th November.

Grey Wagtail, Brambles Pond © Stuart Cossey

11 March

Light rain showers with moderate winds from the southeast.

A quieter day with only 11 Meadow Pipits recorded. The Grey Wagtail was heard briefly as it flew out of St John’s Valley and headed south. A Collared Dove was also reported today. 

12 March

Overcast with strong wind from the southwest. Heavy rain in the afternoon and overnight.

Three male Wheatear were along the West Coast between Old Light and the Battery. 38 Meadow Pipits and nine Pied Wagtails were seen across the island. Four Chiffchaffs were seen including one individual sheltering in the dry stone wall by Tillage Field.

Male Wheatear, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

At Jenny’s Cove the first Puffins were seen with eight rafting together. The number of Puffins should increase towards the end of the month. A Great Northern Diver was in the Landing Bay and a Red-throated Diver was off Rat Island.

13 March

Dry and sunny in the afternoon with wind continuing from the southwest.

After yesterday’s strong winds a raft of 29 Shag were seen in the Landing Bay. A single male Wheatear was at the western end of the Airstrip and 42 Meadow Pipits were seen. Surprisingly a bat was recorded flying around Quarry Pond at 13:00. Photos and size suggest either a Noctule, Leisler's or Serotine Bat.

Male Chaffinch, Village © Stuart Cossey

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